Friday, April 4, 2008

Kermit to the Rescue

I found a ring a few years ago... long enough ago that I don't remember where. I find a lot of things cast aside, either on purpose or by accident, as I walk these streets in my home town, doing the job I do. Or, should I say, jobs. There could be any number of things I'm working on at any given time. But I digress.

I have started to think that I am part crow. My eyes are keen to shiny things. A quick glean or sparkle and my attention seeks out the position of that which is emitting it. As I walk along the sidewalk, through parking lots, along the gutters of residential streets, I catch glimpses of lights a shinin' and I stop to investigate. Many times something much too small to pick up and analyze closer is shining brighter than it ever imagined it could, just long enough to make itself bigger and brighter and noticeable to my peripheral vision. A speck of dust reflects the sun at just such an angle that a shooting star seems to dance right through my imagination, and is gone before I can figure out what happened.

But sometimes, I stop, stoop closer, and I find something interesting. And so I pick it up, look at it a bit, and if it continues to be of interest, I put it in my pocket. And at the end of the day, when I empty my pockets, I rediscover what's been secreted there and find it yet another resting place. I've been collecting small scraps of metal-- bottle caps, wire, etc.-- as part of some idealistic art project that I have yet to fully comprehend for several years now. And that's a story for another day. So, for now-- the ring.

Found it a long while ago. Initially looked at it and determined that it wasn't worth much, but I held on to it for some other reason. It found its way into a dusty corner in a small jewelry box that I got as a gift a few decades ago. And I forgot about it.

But then I had that trip to Santa Cruz, and I wasn't sleeping very well, and I was transitioning to a new set of medications for my Bipolar disorder, and I had another manic episode that landed me in the hospital for a week... so there was a tendency for me to look back, rethink, retool. I started looking for clues as to what may have brought on this latest episode, but also looked for things that could ground me where I was at the moment, kind of like setting a spike in the mountain as a foothold, so that I could manage the climb up and not fall back farther.

Part of this tendency brought me to action; I started sorting through things-- not just in my mind, but actual things, possessions of mine. I sorted through boxes and shelves and piles of this and that-- opened drawers that hadn't been opened in so long that I'd forgotten their contents. I moved furniture around, dusted things off, took stock of my things, tallied and prioritized importance and value. And this action brought me to the ring I had found.

I looked at it as if for the first time. I remembered I had found it while working, somewhere in the city... I remembered its design, its tattered finish, its bent-out-of-round shape that made it sort of difficult to wear... but I put it on my right pinky finger, and it seemed to feel... well, right.

Many years ago, at a Weight Watcher's meeting, I learned about a thing called "anchoring." It's the skill of reframing a tendency, a "nervous tick" of sorts, into a reminder of the behavior that you're trying to change. It's also referred to as "grounding" by some. I had identified my unconscious tendency to fiddle with my wedding band, and associated my focus on my weight loss/health goals with it. So after a few conscious efforts at noticing when I was playing with my ring, and immediately thinking about my weight loss goals, I soon "anchored" my ring and my tendency to toy with it as a device to refocus my attention on the new behaviors I was working on in hopes of attaining my weight loss goals.

Now I am wearing this other ring, and it has anchored me in the moment. When I fiddle with it, I am reminded to be mindful and relax. And it has led me in some interesting directions.

For instance, I've contemplated its design. The face of the ring is blue with globules of green mixed in. These colors are metaphors to what I've been going through. Sometimes I'm feeling kinda blue, while other times I'm feeling green. Little down, little sick. Little raunchy, or a little jealous or envious. But even when I'm blue, I'm still a little green. It's kinda hip these days, anyway, trying to be green. Go green, save the world. Or at least, save life as we know it.

And that's where Kermit came back to me. It's not easy being green. Kermit T. Frog has been a part of my life as long as I remember. I grew up with him-- I loved Sesame Street as a child, and again when I rediscovered it during my college years. One of my college roommates and I were strongly sobered by the early death of Jim Henson. I always loved the Muppet Show. My sister and I sang every song from the Muppet Movie soundtrack long after it was "cool" to do so. The Muppet Christmas album with John Denver still moves me. For whatever reason, I've always felt a kindred spirit with Kermit. Never met him, but I've got a lot of respect for him. Again. For whatever reason, and for what it's worth. I like Kermit the Frog.

And now, Kermit's with me, anchored in my right hand, to assist me with living.

Interestingly enough, I received a book from my sister and her family last year by Kermit, called "Before You Leap: A Frog's-Eye View of Life's Greatest Lessons." I've moved it to the front of my reading queue.

I don't think Kermit has been in the running for any Nobel's or Pulitzer's. But I think I'm going to enjoy this read nonetheless.


Deb said...

Very interesting stuff. I love how you are able to relate things that are so different from each other. That's a real talent you have. I never would have linked a ring and Kermit the Frog. Enjoy the book. I loved it. :)

David said...

Interesting. Well written. Your connection to Kermit. A good role model, I'd say. You are so right on about saving the world. The world has existed millions (or is it billions) of years. It has time on its side. It will be here long after the human race has left. We humans are on a speck of time that may end our existance much sooner than we need to. All we have to give of our time here is to relish it and try to preserve or enhance our quality of life here.

Gerri said...

When I bought you that Kermit Christmas stocking holder, I never dreamed it would inspire you so. What a wonderful are such a good writer. When it makes me cry, I feel it is really good. You are the best!

Gerri said...

I re-read your Kermit story to discover again what it was that affected me. It was the sentence

"And now, Kermit's with me, anchored in my right hand, to assist me with living."

That is such a great summation for what you had just written. It touched me again this time, too!

Suzy said...

Guess I missed this one. Glad I caught up. I am continually amazed and awed at your ability to describe situations. Keep writing because I, and I'm pretty sure I am not alone, love to read it.